The U.S. and Mexico announced plans to bolster a shared patent process that aims to speed up secondary patent approvals.
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property (IMPI) have strengthened an agreement they implemented to help along applications once they find initial approval. The heads of both departments have signed off on the deal, which enhances a program set to expire on June 30 of this year.
Getting patents up to speed
When the USPTO grants you a patent, the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) pact allows you to ask for an expedited claim when the IMPI takes a look. One of the big ways the plan slims down the application is by cutting out repeat work. The IMPI can use your same search and examination findings that the USPTO delivered.
This accelerated process isn’t novel to the U.S. and Mexico by any means. Backlog is bad for business wherever you are. London Economics found that patents stuck in the application process in the USPTO, the Japan Patent Office and the European Patent Office cost the worldwide economy $10 billion every year.
For just this reason, patent offices around the world are engaging in PPH programs to cut down on wait times. The U.S. has deals in place so you can take advantage of benefits with over 25 entities, from Brazil to Europe to China. While the timelines vary for each accord, the USPTO and the IMPI began cooperating at this level in 2011, with the most recent extension in 2015.
New process, old concerns
The cooperation is a good sign for getting your patent through in a timely manner, but you’ll still need a successful application to reap the benefits. Even after the USPTO gives you the green light, your patent will need to make the grade in Mexico. But if you make sure your patent is ready for the process, you could get some help jumping ahead in line.